American slam poets want to kill poetry, but that does not mean what you think it means—or does it? Javon Johnson’s provocative title allows him to lay out several of his book’s key questions in the first chapter: How have slam poets created their own literary spaces and values outside of the academy’s canons? How has slam’s codification of its own practices and voices created the kind of hierarchies or gender biases it initially sought to avoid? How do metaphors grounded in death and rebirth infuse slam competitions, and how do these relate to slam communities’ visions of their own possibilities and limits? And—especially in light of those death-related metaphors of praise, you killed it, or you slayed, often used in slam—how have the beautiful poems of the slam world come to coexist, or not, with the...
Review: Put Your Hands Together: A Review of Javon Johnson’s Killing Poetry: Blackness and the Making of Slam and Spoken Word Communities
Katie Hartsock is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Oakland University. Correspondence to: Katie Hartsock, Department of English, Oakland University, O’Dowd Hall, Room 544, 586 Pioneer Drive, Rochester, MI 48309, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Katie Hartsock; Review: Put Your Hands Together: A Review of Javon Johnson’s Killing Poetry: Blackness and the Making of Slam and Spoken Word Communities. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 15 December 2020; 9 (4): 114–117. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2020.9.4.114
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